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Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons - Single Episodes

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Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons - Single Episodes





MR. KEEN, TRACER OF LOST PERSONS



When Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons first debuted over the Blue Network on October 12, 1937, the show’s title accurately described Keen’s stock-in-trade; the “kindly old investigator” tracked down individuals who had mysteriously vanished, leaving behind their families, homes, jobs and other day-to-day activities. Keen (he never had a first name, unless it was “Peachy”) was assisted in these duties by an Irishman named Mike Clancy. Mike wasn’t much of a brainiac (the quote that comprises the title of this post was a semi-catchphrase that he seemed to use on the show every week) but he could use the necessary brawn when the situation called for it. Bennett Kilpack played kindly ol' Keen throughout most of the program’s run, as well as Philip Clarke and Arthur Hughes, while Jim Kelly took the role of Clancy. The series originally aired as a thrice-weekly fifteen-minute serial from 1937-43 (the show moved to CBS in 1942), providing more than ample time for Keen to solve even the most baffling of disappearances.

Beginning November 11, 1943, the program changed its format to that of a half-hour weekly offering—and though the title and theme song remained, Keen branched out into investigating murders.

If Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons sounds a little soap opera-ish, it’s because it originated from the “radio fiction factory” of Frank and Anne Hummert. (Frank received on-air credit for the writing, but the scripts were actually churned out by scribes like Lawrence Klee, Bob Shaw, Barbara Bates and Stedman Coles.) Mr. Keen“ employed all the stereotypes, heavy dialogue, and trite plotting of its daytime cousins” and “it appealed to a lowest common denominator.” So why is the show so popular with old-time radio fans today? Simple…it’s pretty doggone funny, in an unintentional sort of way.

Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons enjoyed a healthy eighteen-year stint over radio, ending its run not—as previously reported on this blog—on April 19, 1955 but on September 26 of that same year. Over the years, the series had a variety of sponsors: Bisodol, Kolynos toothpaste, Chesterfield cigarettes, American Chicle, etc., and there are nearly sixty broadcasts extant today for modern-day listeners to revel in. It’s ample evidence that not every show during the Golden Age of Radio was “golden”—but I gotta admit, it sure is fun.

NOTE: Updated from Version 4.1 MP3s (25-Feb-2011).



From the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group. See "Note" Section below for more information on the OTRR.


Notes


OLD TIME RADIO RESEARCHER'S GROUP



This is a production of the Old Time Radio Researchers Group located at Old Time Radio Researchers Website and the Old Time Radio Researchers Group.

It contains the most complete and accurate version of this series in the best sound possible at the time of creation. An updated version will be issued if more episodes or better sounding ones become available.

If you are interested in preserving old time radio, you may wish to join the Old Time Radio Researchers Group at Yahoo.


This is the Single Episode Page. The Certified Set includes extras not found here. It is located at OTRR Certified Set. This page is provided in case you want to sample the shows.

Note that in many cases, file names have been modified from the original OTRR names to conform to archive.org naming requirements.


Relax, listen, and enjoy!


OTRR Definitions:

OTRR Certified Accurate -- A series that is Certified Accurate indicates that all the episodes are properly identified and labeled but that the series does not contain all known extant episodes.

OTRR Certified Complete -- A series that is Certified Complete is the highest level of certification available under the OTRR Certified Standards. This certification level implies that all the files in the series are Certified Accurate but also indicates that the series is as complete as possible – it includes all extant episodes.

OTRR Non-Certified -- A collection of shows that has not gone through the OTRR Certification process.

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Reviews

Reviewer: porterville - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 30, 2016
Subject: Mr. Keen Was Good
"Mr. Keen" was rarely heard in our family during its original run on radio. I find it interesting to listen to it after so many decades. The comments below added to my understanding of this program, which I find entertaining. The "Bob and Ray" parody, mentioned by another reviewer below, is worth listening to.
Reviewer: podunk2010 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 23, 2013
Subject: Mr. Trace, Keener Than Most Persons
For those interested in the parody mentioned by justaskmike it can be found as episode 127 here: http://archive.org/details/BobRay--bobRayPresentTheCbsRadioNetwork1959-60
Reviewer: Charlie Heinz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 23, 2013
Subject: Breaking & Entering
The celebrated old investigator and his partner would be jailed for breaking and entering nowadays. :) In these shows they often just go in and look through people's homes and offices without a search warrant.
Reviewer: Max Reiner - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 30, 2012
Subject: Mr. Keen is Nice
Mr. Keen is nice. But the shows have hum on them. That can be attenuated. But it is a bit annoying. Mr. Keen is funny. He will announce the sfx cues, like "Let's knock on the door, Mike." Then the door knock follows. :) Cute.
Reviewer: nightkey5 - - July 1, 2008
Subject: Misdated Show
The episode The Case Of Murder & The Revengful Ghost should be correctly dated 55-02-22.
Reviewer: justaskmike - favoritefavorite - April 20, 2008
Subject: Mr. Keen wasn't too bright
Mr. Keen was an soap opera that armchair detectives could enjoy. A murder would take place before the first commercial break, to catch the listener's attention. Then Mr. Keen would enter the case, interrogating the suspects until the final scene, when they were gathered together in the same room. He would then trick the murderer into confessing in a Charlie Chan like denouement. The program was written by the soap opera writing team of Frank and Anne Hummert who obviously felt that their audience were not too "keen" because the characters' names were repeated every few seconds to make sure that you understand who was talking or being spoken to. This particular plot device was not apparent in any other soap opera written by the Hummetts or any other writer, which made "Mr. Keene, Tracer of Lost Persons," a mystery show for "dumb down" armchair detectives. The comedy team of Bob and Ray did a famous parody called "Mr. Tracer, Keener Than Most Persons."
Reviewer: mcm2500 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 6, 2008
Subject: Not what I thought
I liked this show more than I thought I would.
It is a little soap opera-ish but it holds your intrest. Very funny when he searches people's houses and other illegle stuff like that. Couldnt do that today.
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